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Funimation Hires New Chief Content Officer, Chief Product Officer

posted on by Alex Mateo
Asa Suehira, Kaliel Roberts join management team

Funimation announced on Thursday that it has hired two new executives to its management team: Asa Suehira as chief content officer and Kaliel Roberts as chief product officer.

Suehira will oversee content investment, acquisition, and partnership across multiple areas including streaming, home entertainment, and licensing.

He worked as executive director of Wakanim and managing director of Peppermint from 2015 to 2019. Before holding these positions, he helped to establish the Aniplex of America office in 2005.

Roberts' role is newly created, and she will oversee the strategy and execution of all product and technology. She will also be in charge of user experience.

Roberts previously worked as the senior vice president of product and technology at Discovery Communications. She started her tech career as a software engineer at CNET Networks.

Funimation hired four executives to its management team in November: Wenny Katzenstein as vice president of marketing strategy, TJ Walker as vice president of creative, Beth Kawasaki as executive director of brand management, and Anna Songco Adamian as vice president of licensing and merchandising.

Sony Pictures Television announced in September that it and Aniplex were consolidating three Sony-owned anime acquisition and distribution companies — Funimation based in the United States, Wakanim based in France, and Madman Anime Group based in Australia — into one joint venture. Before the consolidation, Funimation was under Sony Pictures Television, while the other two companies were under Sony Music Entertainment Japan's Aniplex. Decker is leading the venture under Funimation's name, and it is acquiring and distributing Japanese anime through the three component companies.

Colin Decker became Funimation's new general manager in May 2019. Funimation announced that same month that it had acquired Manga Entertainment Limited, an anime distributor in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In March, Funimation and Chinese streaming platform bilibili announced a new partnership to jointly acquire anime licenses "over the next few years."

Funimation ended its content-sharing partnership with Crunchyroll in November 2018, and signed a first-look streaming deal with Hulu. Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in North American distributor Funimation for US$143 million in 2017.

Source: Press release

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